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MSOE has announced a massive makeover for a 1965 dorm tower. (PHOTO: MSOE)

MSOE announces ambitious dorm makeover

Milwaukee School of Engineering today announced that it plans to renovate the school's Roy W. Johnson Residence Hall (RWJ), 1121 N. Milwaukee St., into what it calls "a multi-purpose Living-Learning Community (LLC) with modernized, flexible living and learning spaces designed to serve the diverse needs of students and function as an extension of the classroom."

The plan will add 48 rooms – with 96 total beds, a 20 percent increase in capacity – to the existing 12-story building, erected in 1965, and create two-story "collaboration hubs" is a glass-enclosed addition that overlooks the Downtown skyline.

There will also be classrooms, private study spaces, workspaces, new restrooms and a kitchenette on each floor.

The ground floor of the building, which will be renamed in honor of former president, the late Dr. Hermann Viets upon completion, will get new classrooms, collaboration hubs, meeting rooms and the dining hall will get a makeover.

The front entrance to the building will also be reconfigured.

Currently the building has double- and single-occupancy rooms for both male and female students. Each floor has a lounge and a community restroom that serves 30-40 students.

The school has already collected $32 million of the $37 million plan through philanthropic commitments for the renovation that MSOE President John Walz says will allow students to not only live together but also "collaborate and share experiences."

"This Living-Learning Community will be designed to support MSOE's hands-on, application-oriented approach to learning," said Walz. "The reimagined spaces will promote a sense of community in a lively, flexible and safe environment that integrates living and learning in a way that enhances and supports student success."

The transformation is being drawn by Uihlein-Wilson/Ramlow-Stein Architects, and MSOE hopes the dorm will be ready for the fall 2021 semester.

Constructed is expected to begin in May 2020.

MSOE's Dwight and Dian Diercks Computational Science Hall, also designed by Uihlein-Wilson/Ramlow-Stein, is currently under construction down the block.


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